Stress management. Identifying the sources of your stress

We all experience stress from time to time. When stress gets to be too much, stress relievers are essential in restoring inner peace and physical health. The aim of stress management is to help you balance the various aspects of your life your work, your relationships and your leisure and to balance the physical, intellectual and emotional aspects of life. People who effectively manage stress consider life a challenge rather than a series of irritations, and they feel they have control over their lives, even in the face of setbacks. Stress management and reduction techniques begin with becoming aware of your stressors, recognizing what you can change, and learning to moderate your emotional and physical reactions to your stressors.

Knowing what causes stress for you can help you cope with it better and provide mental and emotional relief. There are many ways to plan for and avert stress. Recognizing your specific triggers is one of the first steps in the process of stress management. Common causes of stress include:

* work
* family
* health concerns
* unrealistic expectations
* cynical and negative attitudes (thinking that things are always going to go badly or end badly)
* sudden traumatic events

Whenever we encounter a stressful event, our bodies undergo a series of hormonal and biochemical changes that put as in alarm mode. Our heart rate increases, adrenaline rushes through our blood stream, and our digestive and immune systems temporarily shut down. If the stressors continue and we stay on high alert for a prolonged period of time, we experience exhaustion and burn out. None of us can avoid stress, but we can return to a state of balance and regulation through a variety of means: exercise, humor, play, music, prayer or meditation. These activities provide calming and relaxing sensory input for stress relief and can be selected according to lifestyle and preference.